Creating Winning Internal Communication Strategies [checklist]
All eyes are on internal communication teams. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted focus onto the importance of workplace communication and internal comms strategies. So much attention shifted to us that 66% of communicators say their influence has increased as a result of the pandemic (State of the Sector, 2021). But now we have to perform. We have to create high-performing internal communication strategies to maintain that respect and value.
So, we created a checklist that will help you do just that: create winning internal communication strategies. But first, a little disclaimer. It’s OKAY if you’re not doing everything on this list right now. It’s okay if you feel a bit overwhelmed by it. Take it one thing at a time. And if you’re already doing most of the things on this checklist, great, amazing even. In that case, think about what you could get better at on this list and set some SMART goals for yourself this year.
Setting The Foundation for Great Internal Communication Strategies
- Set up a regular meeting with key stakeholders across the organization. Some key departments you’ll want to be represented at your meeting: HR, IT, and Operations. But you know your organization best and what you’re communicating. Does someone from legal need to be there? From patient experience (if you’re in healthcare)? Supply chain? Facilities?
- Conduct an Internal Communications Audit (at least annually). We love an IC audit. Things can change rapidly at any organization, and this tool helps you ensure your internal communication strategies include all employee groups and channels. If you’ve never done one of these before (or if it’s been a while), get started with our audit guide and template.
- Use an editorial calendar. Staying organized and getting ahead of communications is so important. IC pros have a lot to communicate, and sometimes this can make us feel like we’re always behind and never able to be strategic. An editorial calendar might not fix this entirely, but it will help you be more proactive.
Understanding Your Audience
- Survey your employee groups. Regularly cadenced surveys are a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of how your employees feel about communication, if they’re getting what they need, and how you can improve. The secret to success here is following up after your survey and taking action based on feedback.
- Enrich your understanding with focus groups. Focus groups go one step further than employee surveys. This is a great way to get richer, qualitative feedback and have a meaningful dialogue about it. Some pretty amazing ideas can also be sourced here also!
Getting the Content Right
- Get creative and try something new. From my time as an internal communications professional at Chipotle, I can attest that this one isn’t always easy. But this is how you break through, capture attention, and bolster engagement with your content (the kind we really want, which is content opens, time spent on the content, and taking the necessary action afterward).
- But how?! Think about every part of your communications. Can the content title be more creative? Is it visual enough? Is it the right medium (e.g. can you change your newsletter to a weekly news video instead?)? Of course, we want to appease the brand gods, so make sure you’re staying true to who your brand is and your comms guidelines. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try something new or test an idea.
Great Internal Communication Strategies Start and End with Measurement
- Check your metrics regularly! Whatever analytics you have access to, use them. Use them religiously. The only way to know if your internal communication strategies are working is to measure them. And measuring regularly and not just as a post mortem helps you salvage strategies that aren’t panning out the way you anticipated. Expecting perfection out of every strategy is a great way to be disappointed, it’s continually learning, evolving, and adapting that helps you find more success.
- Share the win. We’d be remiss if we didn’t stress the importance of sharing when a strategy kicked a**. 20% of communications professionals measure and then do nothing with their data, and that’s a huge waste! You need to share when you have achieved something great with a strategy so you can continue to prove your value as a strategic advisor at your organization.